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Ryan Companies to Design-Build University of St. Thomas Multiuse Arena with Crawford Architects

SAINT PAUL, MN — Ryan Companies has been selected as the design-builder, in partnership with Crawford Architects, for the Lee and Penny Anderson Arena at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. By fall 2025, the university will have a brand-new arena to go along with its ongoing transition to Division I athletics.

With a 15-year history of more than 30 projects with St. Thomas, Ryan is committed to delivering a facility that encompasses the school’s rich history while showcasing its future in Division I athletics.

“We’re proud of our long-standing relationship with the University of St. Thomas and are absolutely thrilled to partner with Crawford to bring a multi-purpose arena onto its campus,” said Eric Engh, Ryan's Senior Vice President of Construction. “When we take on a project, we consider the impact it will have now and in the future. We instantly knew that the Lee and Penny Anderson Arena would bring lasting value to the campus and surrounding community.”

The multiuse arena will serve as the new home for the school’s men’s and women’s hockey and basketball programs. It will provide competition and training facilities for men’s and women’s athletics plus commencement ceremonies, academic convocations, conferences, career fairs, and other events for the university and broader community.

Preliminary design concepts envision seating configurations that accommodate quick conversions between various athletic and university events. On the outside, the design will represent an intersection of the school’s collegiate Gothic architecture and a more modern aesthetic. LEED Silver certification will be pursued, which is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.

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“We are honored by this selection and look forward to collaborating with Ryan and the University of St. Thomas to design and build this transformational project,” said David Murphy, Owner and Senior Principal, Crawford Architects. “Along with Ryan, Crawford Architects welcomes the challenge to create this iconic, ‘new-era’ arena complex that will become a legacy for generations of Tommies to come.”

Joining the Ryan | Crawford team, Meyer Borgman Johnson will provide structural engineering and IMEG Engineers will provide mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering. The project is expected to employ 400 to 550 trade professionals for the duration of construction. St. Thomas expects to break ground in 2024.

“St. Thomas has been evolving from small Catholic liberal arts college to a comprehensive national Catholic university, and the Lee and Penny Anderson Arena will be a powerful engine for that journey,” said St. Thomas President Rob Vischer. “We have worked with Ryan Companies on many projects over the years, and they always come through. On this arena project, which is so vital to our university’s future, we are proud to be partnering with Ryan once again.”

The University of St. Thomas recently announced that it received a $75 million gift from Lee and Penny Anderson of Naples, Florida for the arena. The donation is the single largest monetary gift ever given to a Minnesota university. St Thomas made history as the first Division III institution in the modern NCAA to transition directly to Division I.

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